Sunday, December 6, 2009

Turkey Butchering Day, Thanksgiving and Remodeling!

This is a very long post with lots of pictures so if you're just interested in the turkey butchering go straight to the bottom.
And we absolutely did not butcher the tom you see here, even though his whole goal in life is to attack me. At least he has something to live for.

Thanksgiving was really nice this year. Actually it's been nice every year of my life except maybe last year wasn't so nice what with my mom just getting out of the hospital the night before and my sister, Amy living in Georgia (she is home now).

I used this bottle of $3.98 wine for basting my turkey, the bottle was the prettiest of all the wines.

I cleaned a couple of pie pumpkins and roasted the seeds. I found a recipe that calls for you to boil them for 15 minutes before you bake them with a little oil and salt, very good! Usually I don't like roasted pumpkin seeds but it seems that boiling them first causes the shell to soften slightly making them much crunchier after baking.

I ended up giving these to my chickens to eat. As I was taking them out of the oven my sister told me that my mom bought pies and I was so busy with everything else that I figured the chickens and turkeys would love them. I have another one that I'll cook up maybe for Christmas.

I had no twine to tie up my turkey and after searching all over the house I finally found this light pull string, I cut off the metal tab things and it worked just fine.

I figured it was a much better choice than this stuff, it might have weird stuff in it.

My turkey basting supplies, butter and the wine in the other picture. I always roast my turkeys the Martha Stewart's Turkey 101 way. Always delicious, never dry. Covering it with cheesecloth and basting every half hour with the wine and butter is the best.

All stuffed up and ready for the cheesecloth. Check out my helper in the background.

Complete and ready for the oven. It was still dark outside when I took these pictures because I had a 27 pound turkey that had to be ready by 3:00 pm.

This is about four hours into it. The cheesecloth really protects the skin from over browning before the rest gets done.

Time to remove the cheese cloth and look how nice it is.

Another hour in the oven and it was perfect.

Yummy! Do you think my plate's full enough? I ate it all too.

He waited patiently for a bite, he got one too.

Kevin got an early Christmas gift from Tom. An awesome knife engraved with his initials.
Unfortunately, he didn't get a deer yet so he hasn't tried it out.

I collected dill that was growing at my back door and decided to dry it in case I need it for early pickles. I'm going to try to get some started early enough this spring so I will have fresh though. I couldn't find any last year until later in the summer. I'm going to try and grow some in a hoop house or something, maybe even a cold frame?

This was the motivation for my week of remodeling. I had scheduled half a week off after Thanksgiving when Kevin is off for gun week. He spent most of the week down south in a cabin so with the house empty I seem to get a lot done.

First, I painted the doors for my lower cupboards and hung them up.

I also laid down some tiles that were needed because when we took out the pantry there were spots that had the old tile under it. Plus I put down a wood border that replaced the old silver border that you can see in the picture above.

Here's the floor with the new tile and border. It still needs some finishing work but it looks way better that before. (Amy, call me and let me know how you think it looks. )

Now, back to the reason for some of my work. All of the walls in the living area used to be this awful paneling. We eventually want to drywall but I had nowhere to hang my new decoration so I convinced Kevin to let me paint. He wanted me to wait until we drywalled but who knows when that will be and I needed to hang up my new decoration. It could be years.

Everything was so dark and dreary and dirty looking.

First I primed. (Actually, first I filled all the holes and sanded and sanded!)

There was a really high spot and I had no ladder.

So I improvised and stood on this stool on top of another stool, very lucky I didn't fall. When I put on the paint I taped a paint brush onto a extension pole and used that, it worked but if you get up close it might look bad.

Lookin' better!

Much better.

Then I decided to go after the wall on the other side of the house.

I want to get new curtains now. Maybe just plain ones like you'll see in the picture of the sliding glass door. Soon I'll trim around the windows.

I also put down this carpet in the laundry room. The floor was terrible with mismatched tiles.

I then trimmed out the area over the sliding glass door and hung the curtains, not perfect but so much better!

This picture looks a little better. I really like these simple tab curtains and will hopefully get some for the other side of the room.

Turkey Butchering

Yep, it's you!

We normally use killing cones but they were not big enough so Kevin resorted to using feed sacks, worked pretty good too. You can see him in the background, he hung the bag with the turkey in it, cut them and they stayed really calm, slowly going to sleep. That's me and my MIL Kaye in the foreground.

Then the birds went into the scalder, they barely fit they were so huge.

That's Kevin and his dad, Mike running the plucker. It was so nice to have their help for the day.

The plucker was the best investment we ever made.

More scalding.

More plucking.

Kaye and I working on getting the guts out. First getting the crop loose.

Then getting the back end loose and ready to slide out.

All out and trimming the gallbladder from the liver.

Kaye's removing the lungs and I'm trimming the heart maybe or something.

There's the gizzard.

Cutting it open to clean all the stuff out and remove the lining.

All done, this one weighed 27 pounds and it was the one we had for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Our photographer for the day was my niece Stephanie. It was her first butchering experience and she took lots of pictures. The next picture that she took was a little unusual but I thought I'd include it as a fitting ending to the day. It was how we all felt after lugging around 27 pound turkeys.

Til next time,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's Thanksgiving Time!

My computer is fixed! YAY!! And my blogger sign-in works! YAY!
I missed posting in most of October so here's a re-cap of some frosty fall pictures out of my front door. Unfortunately, the 100 acres across the street is up for sale so this view may change soon.

Here's the last of my moon flowers after the first hard frost.

One little blossom trying to survive.

Kevin installed all new windows in our house. Now I just have to install all the trim and the mouldings and I'll be home free.

We emptied the freezers to make room for the new meat chickens and turkeys. So we tried out the new monster canner. It does 14 quarts at a time.

I did a bunch of chicken, turkey and some stock.

At the last minute I grabbed a bunch of grapes off of the arbor and threw together some jelly.

Boiled them up with a little sugar, from a recipe in my favorite Amish cook book.

Put them through my nifty new Kitchenaid squeezo attachment and filled up some jars.

Presto, some awesome grape jelly.

I discovered that an old friend that lives in Hudson, Ohio has a really beautiful farm where he grows organic garlic. It's called Thaxton's Organic Garlic. He attends the local farmers markets where he has tastings and offers samples every week. Here's a link if you'd like to take a look at his Local Harvest site.
He grows thousands of cloves of garlic every year, saving the very best for replanting stock and also selling some of the best for others to plant. We were lucky enough to barter one of our pastured turkeys for some of his stock this year. We planted our garlic a few weeks ago and he will be getting his turkey today or tomorrow.
I'm so happy that my computer is well again. The only problem is that all of my bookmarks are gone so I won't be able to visit a lot of my old favorite blogs and I've lost a lot of my farming source addresses.
Til next time,
p.s. I'm going to try and remember to take pictures when we process the turkeys so hopefully I'll post about that soon.